Chris Newman, also known as Newmany, is an illustrator and graphic designer from south-east London, UK.
He is a fan of anime, good food, and plants, and enjoys playing the electric guitar and bass. He is the author of the children’s food waste picture book ‘The Perfectly Wonky Carrot’.
Mission: To help people bring their ideas to life with fun and engaging design.
Strategy: Fun, punchy design that convinces and attracts the eye.
• Work sustainably to protect the environment.
• Produce creative solutions to real problems.
• Be adaptable to an ever-changing world.
• Over-deliver where possible.
Questions supplied by Food Tank.
“What inspired you to write The Perfectly Wonky Carrot?”
Halfway through 2016, I watched ‘Hugh’s War on Waste’ – a three-part BBC series that looks into the waste generated by supermarkets and the fast food Industry. The first episode is about the food we eat, and how we – the purchaser, and supermarkets – the supplier; waste millions of tonnes of food each year.
One scene that struck me in particular, featuring some parsnip farmers; truly highlighted the strict cosmetic standards imposed on farmers by supermarkets, who only want perfectly shaped and sized produce. Everything else that’s ‘wonky’ gets rejected, costing farmers vital resources and money. The scene ends with a dump truck pouring out a weeks-worth of rejected turnips – a pile that is around 20 tonnes and over 10 feet high. Seeing the farmer’s plight, and the amount of perfectly edible food unnecessarily wasted motivated me to write a book celebrating wonky fruit and veg.
“Information today is presented to children through so many mediums and devices, why did you choose to present this topic through a book?”
I’ve always worked visually – my degree was in creative advertising, and before that, I studied photography and art. I chose a picture book as I thought it would express the story best. The combination of word and illustration is a powerful one; visually rich illustrations bring to life the words that accompany them. There is more emotion and understanding to a narrative in this way.
“You focus on the food industry’s standard of perfection – what messages do you hope to convey to both children and their parents about cosmetic food standards?”
That we shouldn’t avoid purchasing or eating food because it looks a certain way. These perfect standards are unrealistic and unnecessary. Food naturally grows in all weird shapes and sizes, but the taste and contents are all the same. They’re more interesting and amusing to look at too!
“How can children and adults take these messages from The Perfectly Wonky Carrot and put them into practice?”
By going to shops and picking up wonky fruit and veg from the stores. There is an increasing amount of ‘wonky’ options available now. The reduced section has plenty of treats too. Ask in store if you can’t see any. Children are naturally curious, so showing and allowing them to hold the unfamiliar wonky produce will surely fire up their active imaginations.
“Why is child education and outreach an important element in the fight against food waste?”
Children are the next generation of people who will be responsible for how well we look after our environment and natural resources. Learning these crucial lessons early on is a vital way of cementing them into a lasting way of life. By teaching them more sustainable attitudes and actions towards how they buy, eat or grow food, it can lead to lasting change in the way our society manages its resources.